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TOUR’15 St.21: Greipel Grabs Paris!

Race Report: It looked like the heavy rain was going to dampen the final stage of the Tour de France into Paris, but in the end the sprinters had their day. The big German, André Greipel, held his sprint back to the last meters to swoop past Alexander Kristoff for the most important Paris sprint. Chris Froome rolled over the line for his second Tour overall victory.

There were many crashes in the ladies’ race and so the overall timing was taken at the first crossing of the finish line. As the roads dried the race was on, some small breaks hoped to take it all the way to the finish, but in the end Lotto Soudal dominated the stage to place their man perfectly for the last lunge.

The course for stage 21 into Paris is slightly different from normal as it starts fairly close to the finish, in the suburb of Sèvres and works its way through Boulogne Baillancourt and Longchamp towards the Place Charles de Gaul at the top of the circuit. From there the race heads towards the river and makes a detour to pass the Tour Eiffel and go through the streets south of the river before crossing at the Louvre to join the circuit for ten laps and the battle of the Champs Elysées. At only 109 kilometers it’s the shortest stage of the Tour. Mark Cavendish has the record with four wins.



After the women’s race, La Course, was won by Anna Van Der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) from Jolein D’hoore (Wiggle Honda) and Amy Pieters (Liv-Plantur), on rain soaked roads that caused many crashes, the men’s race headed out of Sèvres.

As usual there was no hurry and the peloton ambled along well wrapped up against the rain. All the jerseys are decided: Chris Froome (Sky) overall winner and king of the mountains, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) points competition winner, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) best young rider, the Movistar team took team comp and Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) was the most aggressive rider.

The Sky team were wearing a special jersey with a yellow stripe, the team received permission from the UCI, so unlike Lance Armstrong a few years ago they won’t have to change at the side of the road.

After consultations with the riders and organizers, it had been decided that the race would be neutralized from the first crossing of the finish line with 41 kilometers to go. This only affects the overall time, there would still be a race for the stage win.

Tour de France 2015 - stage 21

On the last climb of the 2015 Tour, the Côte de l’Observatoire (Cat 4), Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) took the 1 point available, no worry to KOM Chris Froome as he was leading with 119 points to Pozzato’s 1. After a few photos for team Sky they moved forward to control the peloton.

The cloud rolled across Paris and the top of the Eiffel Tower disappeared from view as the peloton approached the Arc de Triumph before the loop south of the river. At this point the Champagne came out, but it was probably more rainwater than the bubbly French wine.

70 to go
The talking stopped and the speed picked up as Sky led onto the circuit for the start of the first lap and it looked like the rain had eased slightly. Everyone crossed the line safely and so; no matter what happens, Chris Froome is the winner of the 2015 Tour de France. The riders were not taking any chances as Sky controlled the race keeping the speed safe and slower than the usual bash up and down the Champs. No one was interested in making an attack.

The first move of the day came from Andriy Gryvko (Astana), to take the intermediate sprint, being chased down by Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (MTN-Qhubeka) and Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE). This launched IAM Cycling’s Sylvain Chavanel up the road on his own for the first proper action of the day. Sky again came to the front, but Chavanel had a lead of 12 seconds. A group of six riders split off the front, but they were not being allowed much space and were soon pulled back and Chavanel stretched his lead to 17 seconds. Due to the rise in the speed Chavanel was caught and was replaced by three riders: Nelson Olivera (Lampre-Merida), Kenny Van Bilson (Confidis), and Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Séché Environnemont), they manage a lead of 20 seconds through the finish line with 6 laps to go, Jan Barta was beteween trying to get across.

Barta didn’t make it and next to go was Sven Tuft (Orica-GreenEDGE), but again he couldn’t make it across to the three leaders who now had 25 seconds with 35 kilometers to go. The Lotto Soudal team came to the front for their man André Greipel, while at the back Froome was in trouble, but no one knew why. The yellow jersey was amongst the cars for a little while but soon made his way to the finish.

30K’s left
The lead was stuck at 25 seconds and was still the same with 4 laps to go (26.7km). Gryvko tried (again) to jump up to the leaders, but again failed and by the turn on the Place de Concorde the three leaders had 28 seconds. Lotto Soudal had all their riders at the front with the addition of Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) lending a hand.

With 3 laps to go the lead was 31 seconds and as Etixx – Quick-Step, Katusha, Cofidis and Europcar started to move forward it was looking like the break would not be off the front for much longer.

Tour de France 2015 - stage 21

2 laps to go (14km) and the lead was down to 17 seconds, Rohan Dennis (BMC) attacked through the line and managed to cross to the leaders. At the back Chris Froome had a plastic bag caught in his rear wheel and needed a bike change. He came through the cars and three teammates brought him back to the peloton. The lead needed the speed of Dennis, but he didn’t help much and their lead was cut to 9 seconds. Van Bilsen saw the writing on the wall and attacked at the bottom of the Camps.

The last lap
Dennis closed Van Bilsen down with 7 kilometers to go and Dennis put the pressure on to the top of the champs as the sun came out. Tinkoff-Saxo was next to lead the bunch for Sagan, but it was every man for himself as the peloton spread across the tree lined boulevard and the break was over.

Along by the River Seine Giant-Alpecin tried to take over as a crash took out half a dozen riders. Katusha came to the front to launch Alexander Kristoff up the road, but André Greipel shot past the Norwegian, as there was a tussle between Sagan and Arnaud Démare just behind the big German. Europcar’s Bryan Coquard squeezed through for second ahead of Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) in 4th.

Tour de France 2015 - stage 21

Chris Froome crossed the line arm in arm with his teammates, taking his second Tour de France.

Stay tuned to PEZ for all the Tour round-ups: Ed roadside, EuroTrash and Lee’s Lowdown all in the next few days.

Tour de France Stage 21 Result:
1. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 2:49:41
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
4. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka
5. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
6. Mark Cavendish (GB) Etixx – Quick-Step
7. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
8. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
9. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
10. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale-Garmin
11. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
12. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
13. Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis
14. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo
15. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling
16. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka
17. Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
18. Jan Barta (Cze) Bora-Argon 18
19. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
20. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Katusha
21. Paul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
22. Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek
23. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling
24. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
25. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling.

Tour de France Final Overall Result:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 83:19:15
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 1:12
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 5:25
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 8:36
5. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 9:48
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 10:47
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek at 15:14
8. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 15:39
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 16:00
10. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 17:30
11. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin at 22:06
12. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 22:50
13. Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN-Qhubeka at 31:03
14. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Alpecin at 31:15
15. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 31:39
16. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 38:52
17. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:02:51
18. Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:05:00
19. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling at 1:09:08
20. Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:16:36
21. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:21:27
22. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 1:24:58
23. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:25:23
24. Jan Barta (Cze) Bora-Argon 18 at 1:26:56
25. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:28:29.

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